FCC Power Grab

Say good by to the free and open internet. The US Federal Communications Commission has voted today, 3-2, in favor of imposing strict new regulations on the internet. As expected, the 3 in favor are Democrats who are about to become marginalized in the new Congressional session that starts January 4.

The FCC's newly stolen power is based in the false premise of "net neutrality" which has been the subject of intense debate for several years. The basic idea behind this is more or less a form of socialism for the internet - all traffic has equal footing regardless of what type it is. So long as it's of legal content. In principle this sounds like a good idea, but it leaves ISPs powerless to do anything about that special kind of user who loves to park their connection on Youtube all day and watch every HD video they can find, which in the end causes problems for the rest of the users who are just trying to surf casually. As most of us know, not all traffic is created equal and expecting to act as such makes no sense.

The FCC entered into this vote despite the fact that there's next to no support in Congress. Legislation to enact the same sort of thing the FCC just did by regulatory fiat only has 27 co-sponsors. All 95 of the candidates who have expressed support for net neutrality have all been voted out of office in the November midterms. So it's fairly clear that there's no groundswell of support for this action and it shouldn't even have been up for consideration, much less actually voted through. It certainly would not have survived a vote under the new commission that's incoming.

What's worse still is that the FCC has no legal authority to enforce regulation of the internet. The Federal Court in Washington DC has already ruled that the FCC does not have this power in the "Comcast vs FCC" case.

Market forces are more than enough to provide for the internet. Companies who throttle certain kinds of traffic tend to find themselves the subject of boycott campaigns. People move to different providers that don't do it. Comcast themselves stirred up a great deal of hate over the very issue that Comcast vs FCC was about - throttling torrent traffic. People may not have liked it, but Comcast was ultimately in the right due to the nature of how cable internet works and the demands that torrent traffic creates.

So what do we do about it now? In 2011, the solution is simple. Congress needs to come forth and smack down the FCC. Republicans will have more than enough seats to force a resolution voiding the FCC vote and keeping them in their places. If regulation of the internet is to happen, it needs to happen via an Act of Congress like anything else. The chances of that happening of course are extremely low since nobody really supports the idea.

Doing nothing is clearly not an option since the FCC will surely not stop here. Failure to oppose them now will mean more and more restrictions and regulations put in place until we no longer recognize the internet we once had. This needs to be stopped now before it becomes a tool to strip us of the last bastion of freedom we have left.
"It is pointless to resist, my son." -- Darth Vader
"Resistance is futile." -- The Borg
"Mother's coming for me in the dragon ships. I don't like these itchy clothes, but I have to wear them or it frightens the fish." -- Thurindil

Well. I guess that's that then.

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Posted on Dec 21, 2010 2:13 pm by Samson in: | 16 comment(s) [Closed]
Well, not only is it unlikely to happen as an Act of congress because there isn't really any support for it, but frankly the nature of the internet these days would really require regulation by a worldwide agency rather than just our Congress, simply put, our people don't really have the authority to cover it all. Even just within the US, the FCC doesn't have the authority. What's most distressing about this is the fact that even after the courts expressly told them they can't do this sort of thing they voted amongst themselves to do it anyway.

Vladaar [Anon] said:
Comment #2 Dec 22, 2010 5:32 pm
Yes, that is disturbing Conner. Whats also disturbing is all the lame duck stuff that has been passing, jammed through congress. Obama seems to be taking credit for all the good things, and putting all the bad things off on congress. Good cop bad cop. heh.

Well, yeah, but let's face it, all presidents try to claim credit for what they believe to be the good stuff and most of them don't hesitate to pass the blame for what they see as the bad stuff on to either their predecessor or congress, that's just political vying to try to ensure they'll be re-elected next term. Granted, some presidents are better at that game than others and some may have been more willing to concede their own mistakes than others but, overall... I think it's also disturbing that it's sounding rather distinctly like our present congress is perfectly willing to let most of our government shut down for three months rather than be responsible for the budget so that it can remain in operation through March, but that's not really germane to this topic either. ;)

US Department of Defence PS3 Super Computer.

Now lets hook into that to play some hard core games.

Why do you think they call 'em "war games"? ;)

I just read this and had a recall of a republican who was promoting a failsafe that the government could use to lock down the internet in the case of an emergency,stating that the US should have one as China does. Clearly it works on both sides of congress...

Oh, the democrats definitely have no true monopoly on idiots or zealots, but they've generally got louder ones. ;)

Well, in Australia people generally prefer to hear about idiot republicans, so its hard to know about stuff ups on the democrats side (or to put it in more effective terms, the best source of dissenting information on Democrats in Australia is John Steward).

:lol: Well, you already know what folks here prefer to hear about: a little bit of everything just depending on the individuals. ;)

I don't know if we *prefer* to hear about idiot republicans/democrats ... that's pretty much the only flavor they come in ... but i'd prefer to hear about *smart* ones who actually accomplish something. :lol:

Nah, you only think you want to hear about the smart ones who accomplish positive things, the news industry has been proving for decades that it's bad news that really sells. ;)

John Stewart? Good God, haven't we been over this before? He's not a news source!

I was just using him to emphasize the fact that Australian media doesn't criticize democrats... :shrug:

Sounds a bit like censorship. :(

Well, politically Australia fits into line with the democrats and has a distinct loathing (this being a generisation of course) so any new source that publishes a story about huge errors Obama has made isn't going to get a positive reception...so its not really censorship in that sense but just what the public wants to hear. :shrug:

Edited by prettyfly on Jan 14, 2011 11:37 pm
So, it's not that the government is censoring the press but that popular opinion is? Hmm, that certainly leaves the way well paved for Big Brother to simply act in the public good to take over completely and silently. How convenient.

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